Nissan Motor Co is falling well short of its goal of doubling sales of its Leaf electric car this fiscal year as sales in the United States are particularly weak despite high gas prices.
While Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn set a target of doubling global Leaf sales in the current fiscal year that runs through March 2013, the pace will need to increase dramatically as they are up only 9 percent in the first five months through August.
Leaf sales in the United States are down 56 percent from April through August, and down 31.5 percent this calendar year.
Nissan North America spokesman David Reuter said U.S. sales should improve once it ships more to the markets where it sells best. Leaf debuted in December 2010 in Japan and in seven metropolitan areas in the United States.
Leaf is not the only EV to struggle in the U.S. market. General Motors Co's Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car has come up short of expectations, forcing the U.S. automaker to idle the plant that makes the car. In addition, Fisker Automotive's Karma plug-in has experienced numerous problems and was just panned by Consumer Reports for being "plagued with flaws."